“I’ve Been Made Redundant”

In 2009, my husband was made redundant and spent 15 months unemployed. He went to work in the morning and came home in the afternoon without a job.

This period was one the most difficult time of our married life. I was 4 months pregnant with our second child and we had just bought a house on which we had spent our savings. His redundancy came out of the blue and we very quickly we were part of the statistic affected by the world’s biggest recession.

I bring this up as the other day I was listening to a phone in on Radio 4. The discussion was on debt and how to manage debt at a time when figures for those in debt are rising due to unforeseen circumstances.

Many of the stories for those found in financial trouble were due to redundancies and severe illnesses such as cancer, strokes etc… The more I listened to the stories the angrier I became. I could relate to many of the stories as they sought help and were turned away at every door.

When my husband was made redundant, we went straight to the bank to seek help with our mortgage. We were told that they cannot help us as they had stopped offering interest only mortgages. The first step in cutting the wrists of those facing financial difficulties.

I am confused when the government say “we are all in this together” as I do not see this. If we were all in this together, there would be necessary help put in place for all citizens and not just those on benefits.  Our tax paying money saved the banks so surely the same money should save us.

We found that we could not get council tax reduction or other reductions to help our situation and got by with me finding a job, working until I gave birth and then going back to work after 10 weeks maternity leave.

At no point during this time did I feel supported or helped by the government or the institutions named to be assisting us. We were told to tell our creditors our difficulties and work out arrangements. Unfortunately, this is an ideology and not reality. Creditors do not make any money by making arrangements and so close their doors and wait until you are in arrears and pass you over to a litigation company.

We tried to cut back our expenditure, but there is only so much you can cut back and despite our efforts the rising cost of living just counteracted our prudence.

For me, during this crisis, the fundamental concern that should have been addressed was how to help all citizens that were and still are affected by the gross negligence of the banking industry and greedy governments.

Redundancy is a lonely and frightening place. There are more than financial problems to deal with such as emotional and social. Marital breakdown happen during this time and families go through extreme stress. In Asian families, negative judgements are extremely prevalent.  After listening to this phone in, I felt it was important to share my story so that anyone else facing these circumstances could have a forum to speak without being judged.

If you have experienced debt or redundancy and would like to share your story, please add a comment by clicking on the comment icon.


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